I had just moved from Germany to UK, my english was very basic and I had no friends! To my luck we were all starting a new chapter in a new school so making new friends was everyones mission (new being the keyword here if you hadn’t noticed). For some it was easier than others. I was fortunate enough to have met some amazing tamil girls, so I was able to communicate in tamil! That was one of the moments I was so grateful to my parents for making me speak and understand tamil.
I managed to learn and speak english fluently by the time we had reached year 9. My circle of friends remained small but we were all so close, and still are. I was never popular and it didn’t bother me, we didn’t have any drama and life was so simple.
My friends and I were always very much alike, in terms of personality, style and opinions. To be honest we didn’t have much of a choice or chance to explore when it came down to fashion 1. We had school uniforms in secondary school and make up was strictly a no go 2. We were little geeky asian kids, always obeying parents orders (and still are of course..) 3. we were very, very shy!
Our personalities adapted and changed as we grew older. I can’t recall when exactly, it was around about year 9, again, clearly a pivotal year in my life, I must have been 13 and I managed to persuade my parents to allow me to wear contact lenses. That’s when I evolved from a nerdy little tamil girl to something more ladylike. It didn’t happen over night of course.
Here are some pictures of me growing up. I’ve tried to keep it in a chronological order.
What would I tell my younger self?
Between the ages of 10-13 I had changed schools 3 times and moved to a new country.
I would tell myself that I am a brave and strong girl for facing new people, a new language an entire new place. I would tell myself that it can only get better from here on. I was very hard on myself, at one point I was crying to my mum, asking her to move back to germany because I was struggling so much to learn the new language, on top of there was the pressure of keeping up with the standard of education. For a young girl it was all too much to take in at once.
Between 13-16 my teenage hormones really kicked in.
I was going through a grunge phase, listening to Greenday, Fall out boys, Evanescence and Slipknot. I loved anything that was black and had skulls. It was also the time boys were introduced to our lives. We went to an all girls school so boys were never a concern for us, but as some of you asians may know, our parents are so fond of spending extra money on tutors. It was basically like school, after school. For us it was more of a social gathering every week. This was also the first time we didn’t have to wear uniform so we took the opportunity to “dress to impress”, let me tell you my dress sense was all over the place. Up until then my appearance didn’t really bother me anyway.
You know when you get a new toy and have so many expectations and hopes when you hold it, ready to unpack it once your home, but then all the excitation wears off after a minute or two… That’s what it felt like with the boys. We spoke to a few when we had to but most of us just stuck by the people we knew.
To make situations a little difficult for a young geeky girl that was already very shy, I was starting to break out.
I had a crush or two, none of them knew besides my friends. It was all hush, hush, giggle, giggle. Looking back now it seems so silly.
I would tell my younger self to not feel so self conscious. With an exception of a few, who seemed to have skipped the entire ugly duckling teenage phase, most of us are on the same boat (boys included). It’s OK to like different things, to be different. It’s OK to be breaking out, but don’t pick on your spots because it will scar you and you will have to deal with bigger problems later on! Boys don’t know what they want at that age, heck none of us know what we want, we are all as confused as each other. Just don’t let anyone tell you to change who you are,carry on being this awesome girl!
Between the age 16- 19 I finished secondary school, started 6th form and was about to start Uni.
The jump from GCSEs to A-Levels was huge. Although almost everyone had warned me, I was nowhere near prepared for what was to come. The jump from A-levels to Uni was even bigger! Before I went off to Uni I took a year out and worked full time.
During my AS level I had discovered the wonders of foundation, I was using the wrong shade and had no idea of how to apply make up. Thank god for youtube and beauty gurus because they were the ones that really taught me everything I know now.
A few months before I was about to start uni, I was in a quite severe car accident. It left me with a huge scar on my forehead along with several other injuries. Harry Potter’s scar has got nothing on my one! As if I didn’t have enough insecurities to deal with, I had another concern added to my list. I was in hospital for a little less than a month.
I would tell my self to not stress so much about my future. I did well in my GCSEs and I should be proud for how far I had come. A-levels was a struggle but I managed to get through it, I would tell myself to focus more on my education and put in more work. Just appreciate this time and your friends because once you start Uni, life will change.
My blemishes were one of my biggest insecurities and it kept my confidence low. I would tell myself that it doesn’t look so bad ( I looked at my old photos and really doesn’t look as bad as I thought it did) and anyone can see that personality will outshine looks any day.
To my surprise I was a lot less conscious about my “war wound” as we call it, than my blemishes. I would give my past self a pat on the back for being the brave and strong person I was for the sake of my family and friends. I don’t know where all that strength came from and how I even survived this, but someone out there is clearly looking out for me.
Between the ages 19-22 I moved out to leicester for uni.
This was the first time I had been away from home and parents. I was my own responsibility. My first year was a blur we raved like no mans business, attended lectures and practicals drunk or no sleep or BOTH and endured some horrendous drama between my new group of friends. I had gained a lot weight from all the binge drinking and eating, and lack of sleep.
Cosmetics was my forever growing love and it was the first time I had money to spend on high end products (thanks to student loan). My style was a bit of a hit and miss. Although I do recall more misses than hits…
My second year was somewhat peaceful. We managed to keep a smaller circle of friends, by this time I had “filtered” the ones that were good for me from the ones that drifted away. We still went out and socialised but focused a lot more on our education and I was more conscious of my diet.
I had a misunderstanding with a very close and important friend, I was a mess for a while, it was a very hard year for us both.
My cosmetics collection had grown A LOT and I thought I had found my personal style. (I really didn’t) but it was a lot more put together.
Third year was the toughest and most stressful experience I have had in my entire life. I managed to attend most social events all while still finishing my work, attend most lectures and practicals. I even managed to workout and keep myself fit!
I did have some minor boy drama but that’s not even worth mentioning.
My confidence grew a lot since first year. All those presentations, intense meetings/interviews and handling situations on my own forced me to open my mouth and stand on my own feet.
By the end of uni, although my love for make up still existed I was a lot more into developing my personal style and branching out of the “student” look.
I would tell myself to just keep going and stay focused on your goals. Whatever drama there was at the time was just temporary, don’t lose yourself because in a matter of a week or month it isn’t going to matter anymore. Change is good. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be considered as change, you are evolving and growing every day and carving yourself to be a beautiful, strong and independent women. It’s still you, but a better version of yourself.
You have family and friends who will love you, always.
– – –
-I would tell myself:
To not lose hope
Always remember there is people that are in way worse situations
Boys/Men are not worth losing friends over
Visit home more often
Keep in touch with people that really mattered to you
Don’t eat so much junk food!
Get that hair cut, it’s only hair, it’ll grow
Don’t waste money on clothes you know you won’t wear more than once
Clean your room! A clean room is a clean mind
Don’t let your lack in confidence be a set back
Practice veena more often
Trust your instincts
Speak your mind, don’t keep your opinions to yourself if you know it can make a difference
Stand up for yourself
Dare to do something exciting
Let yourself feel beautiful
You don’t have to wear make up all the time. Your flaws are beautiful too.
If you want something, you have to work for it
Pay your bills on time
You have a purpose in life
You are stronger than you think
Don’t pick your spots
Don’t cut your hair yourself!
Don’t dye your hair yourself!
Be on time
Understand their perspectives
Agree to Disagree
Believe in yourself
Don’t take things to heart
Be kind even if they aren’t
Don’t mock peoples flaws or insecurities
Tell people how much they mean to you
Do your work on time
Don’t be lazy
It’s okay if you make mistakes, learn from them
be forgiving, give people another chance but don’t let them fool you twice
Help your mum out more often
Do things out of your comfort zone
Remain calm, there’s no need to stress so much